McCormack Speaks

August 15, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Reframing the Dissertation Experience

This post originally appeared on the Gerontology Institute blog, written by alumna Kristen E. Porter, PhD, MS, MAc, LAc, JP

Kristen PorterLife happens.

I was the 67th graduate of the UMass Boston Gerontology PhD program when I received my degree in 2015. I spent one year from proposal to successful defense with no revisions. At the time, I was the 11th fastest to graduate.

But it wasn’t the breeze it might appear to be on paper. While in the program, I was the president of a company, a foster parent to numerous children ranging in age from newborn to teen, and primary caregiver to my mother and grandmother. During this time my mother, grandmother, father, and business partner died and I underwent nine surgical procedures and survived sepsis.

Life happened. But if we let it happen to us it can derail our goals. For me, to not only survive but also thrive required grit, commitment, and creativity. In seeking to find support for my own dissertation writing, I created a peer dissertation writing group in 2013. Writing a dissertation was as much a rigorous intellectual challenge as it was a personal challenge to finish regardless of how life happened. Long past my graduation, the group continues to support UMass Boston students complete their dissertations.

Read more about this dissertation support group.

August 7, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Professor Matz Recommends Ways to Improve the Role of the Patient in Medical Decision-Making

operating roomProfessor David Matz’s career has taken him all over the globe including working with courts and law schools in China and Nigeria, developing policies and practices in Israel, working with Arab and Jewish groups to promote peace talks, and leading the development and assessment of tools for court mediators, judges, and engineers in the United States.

In 2014 Matz began a different kind of journey which has led him through the trials of the health care system. This experience left Matz asking “why” as it relates to tests, procedures, techniques, and opinions. As a conflict resolution practitioner, Matz reflects on his journey and offers suggestions for enhancing the role of the patient in decision-making.

Read more about the role of the patient in decision-making.

August 5, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Report Focuses on Services, Needs For Elders and Those Living With Dementia

This blog originally appeared on our Gerontology Institute blog, posted by Steven Syre.

Tufts Health Plan Foundation has released a new report prepared by UMass Boston Gerontology Institute researchers that provides a comprehensive look at current activities and resources in place to support Massachusetts populations over age 65 as well as those living with dementia and their caregivers.

Researchers led by Associate Professor Elizabeth Dugan prepared the Report on Demographics, Programs, and Services for an Age- and Dementia-Friendly Commonwealth: What We Have and What We Need. It offers recommendations for building age- and dementia-friendly communities, identifies gaps in resources for this growing population and includes strategies to increase those supports.

Read more about the recommended needs and services for dementia patients.

July 31, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

Already Enjoying a Successful Career in Housing, Loiselle Reaches for the Ceiling


by Patrick Lawlor, MPA 2016

Courtenay Loiselle, MPA ’16Many of us who have suffered through countless New England winters often dream about what winters would be like in a place like Arizona: No more salt stains on our shoes, no more bone-chilling walks to the T stop. But Courtenay Loiselle, Public Administration ’16, did just the opposite. Having moved to Boston from Tucson in 2001, Loiselle has already made her mark in affordable housing and there is nothing slowing her down. Continue Reading →

July 28, 2017
by McCormack Speaks

A Day to Put Ourselves in a Refugee’s Shoes

by Beyza Burcak, Conflict Resolution student

silhouettes of refugee family“If there were guns pointed at your children, would you not flee also for your safety? Do we not owe people enough humanity to stand with them when they flee for their lives?”

As Westy Egmont, director of the Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College, challenged his audience with those questions, a screen behind him showed the iconic photo of a Turkish coast guard carrying the body of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi. The boy had fled war-torn Syria with his family and drowned in the Aegean Sea during the dangerous journey to freedom and safety in 2015.

The photograph – and Alan’s story – put a human face on the global refugee crisis: more than 65 million people displaced by persecution, war or violence. And yet here we were two years later, still trying to find an answer to the same question: How can we make a meaningful impact on the lives of these refugees? Continue Reading →

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